Best Practices in Billing #7
- Personalize the invoice – use actual names when referring to your client and others. Never call your client the client in the invoice;
- Resist a billing entry for more than two hours for anything done in your office. Break the work into multiple events for the entry, but;
- Total up small entries and don’t nickel & dime your client in the bill;
- When the invoice is larger than normal, consider giving some explanation in addition to the invoice itself. For example, explain in a letter or personal note what occurred and include it with the bill.
- Review prior invoices to make sure it does not appear to your client that you are charging for work already performed. For example, when we bill for research, if we don’t explain in detail what we researched and why, it can appear that we might be repeating something already performed and perhaps paid for by the client.
- Make sure the client knows that s/he can talk to you about the bill. Any time an issue arises on your end about the billing process, address it immediately. Avoiding the issue never adds to the solution. You are far more likely to collect a past due amount if you call the day after payment is due as opposed to sending a nice letter sixty days later.
The PMAS is a multifaceted Bar program designed to help Bar members improve and enhance management skills in the practice of law. Daniel Mills, assistant director for PMAS, Regulation Counsel, and Rochelle Washington, senior staff attorney, PMAS, can be reached at 202-737-4700, ext. 3212 and 3217, respectively, or at [email protected]